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West Virginia University Builds Zip Line Course Near Coopers Rock

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WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
File photo. West Virginia University becomes the first American university to own its own zip line course. | Getty Images

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Organizers of the nation's first university-run zip line say their first focus will be training the volunteers who will run the much larger zip line network at West Virginia's new Boy Scout park.

Adventure WV worked with West Virginia University's Division of Forestry & Natural Resources and Colorado-based Bonsai Design to create a course with four zip lines, an aerial bridge and a rappel station to exit the course at WVU's Research Forest. The zip line was scheduled to open Thursday.

More young people need to get outside, said Adventure WV director Greg Corio, and the 7,800-acre forest just 15 minutes from Morgantown will let them do that in a fun new way that's also educational.

Adventure WV began as a small outdoor orientation program for first-year students but now offers a Challenge Course facility, international study programs, leadership training and other outdoor and "experiential education" programs.

Program coordinator Nathan Harlan said the course can help teach people about physics and math, while also hosting researchers interested in sustainability and the environment.

But its first focus is training volunteers to run zip lines at the Summit Bechtel Reserve near Oak Hill in Fayette County. The new park hosts the national Boy Scout Jamboree July 15-24.

Zip-lining is one of the fastest-growing segments of the adventure-tourism market because it's accessible to everyone, Corio said.

"It allows you to see the forest from a different view," he said. "Instead of just looking up at the trees, you're in the trees and you're moving through the canopy."

Age doesn't matter, Corio said, "as long as you're willing to take a step off that platform."

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